I will be updating this article with some of my experiences and thoughts on shooting in and around my home town, Sea Point, Cape Town.
I try to broaden my stomping ground whenever I get a chance, but as I’m a dad with kids in school and work a full time day job in town, my photography is primarily in and of the town where I live.
“Make it your own,” I read somewhere the other day, “…It might not be as busy as New York or Tokyo, but it’s your town so love it and discover it.”
Not that I’m left with nothing to shoot – Cape Town provides street photographers with a richness of culture in an interesting setting. Both in terms of architectural and natural surroundings.
In areas like Sea Point along the Atlantic Seaboard, in particular, you will find a nice mixing pot of almost all the cultures, ethnicities, languages, backgrounds and stereotypes that South Africa has to offer, as well as visitors from abroad.
It’s gay, it’s Jewish, it’s hipster, it’s Muslim, conservative, liberal, kitch, yuppie, young, old, touristy, local(ly), it’s overwhelmingly everything.
Whether it’s representative of a “true African city” is another matter entirely, but it’s certainly not boring.
It’s pretty British too. Among Afrikaners in South africa there is a saying “Die Kaap is Engels” (The Cape is English). Cape Town – The Mother City – was founded in 1652 by Governor Jan van Riebeeck as a supply station on the Dutch East India Company’s sea route to the East. Sometime in later years this saying was birthed and today it still feels relevant when one visits the CBD area, due to the cosmopolitan environment it has acquired.
Of course I’m not pretending that there is no political tension. If you look for it you will find it.
…and maybe you can document it. The post-apartheid South African political landscape is still unfolding in interesting ways, offering photo journalists or street togs the equivalent in potential photographic content as it does for nature or landscape shooters. I’m a casual shooter though, and where people or portraits are concerned I shoot whatever I’m presented with, be it positive or negative emotion. The key here is emotion – if I captured it, almost everything else is secondary.
Main road, Three Anchor Bay is lined with cellular accessory shops, coffee shops, hair salons, tailors, locksmiths, tattoo parlours, small supermarkets and other small shops and traders.
The promenade stretches along the Seaboard from near the harbour in Moullie Point through to the public pools in Sea Point, where there is a hub of sorts with a number of vendors and shops selling ice cream, pancakes and good coffee. This area draws a lot of people.
Down town sometimes feels very cosmopolitan. If I shoot it in a certain way I could almost fool you into thinking it’s Europe or America. That’s the nice thing about Cape Town: it can look like any place, depending on how you shoot it.